Deshaun Watson to Continue Taking QB1 Reps at Browns Practice Until NFL Appeal Wraps

Adam WellsAugust 5, 2022

BEREA, OH - JULY 30: Deshaun Watson #4 of the Cleveland Browns runs a drill during Cleveland Browns training camp at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus on July 30, 2022 in Berea, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will continue to taking the majority of snaps with the first-team offense until a decision on the NFL's appeal of his six-game suspension is announced.

Speaking to reporters ahead of Friday's practice, head coach Kevin Stefanski said the team will "kind of await clarity on the situation" and "move ahead with what we're doing" before making any changes to the snap distribution among the quarterbacks.

Former federal judge Sue L. Robinson announced on Monday that Watson should receive a six-game suspension with no fines for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy after 24 women filed civil lawsuits accusing Watson of sexual assault or misconduct.

In her 16-page ruling, Robinson stated the NFL "has carried its burden to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Mr. Watson engaged in sexual assault (as defined by the NFL) against the four therapists identified in the Report."

Despite acknowledging the NFL met the burden of proof as defined by the league that Watson engaged in sexual assault, Robinson noted her discipline recommendation was based on "looking at the record when compared to the relevant precedent, and looking forward to how this disciplinary determination might be used in the future."

The league announced its decision to appeal on Wednesday, per the rules in the collective bargaining agreement.

Per ESPN's Jeff Darlington, the NFL is seeking an indefinite suspension of at least one year and a fine for Watson.

The league announced former New Jersey attorney general Peter C. Harvey was appointed as Roger Goodell's designee to hear the appeal. The statement also notes that Harvey's written decision "will constitute the full, final and complete disposition of the dispute and will be binding" for all parties per the rules of the CBA.

As noted by NFL.com, the personal conduct policy states the appeal will be "processed on an expedited basis" and is based only on a review of the existing record, so neither side is allowed to present new evidence or testimony.

It's unclear at this point when Harvey will hear the appeal.

Watson has been at practice with the Browns every day since Robinson's initial ruling was announced. He was acquired by the team in March in a trade with the Houston Texans and signed a five-year, fully-guaranteed $230 million contract.

Despite facing a suspension, Watson is still eligible to practice with the team and play in preseason games.

The Browns will open preseason play on Aug. 12 against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. They will kick off the regular season at Bank of America Field against the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 11.